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robson-on-politics Thurs 2 June

robson-on-politics Thurs 2 June

robson-on-politics, a newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party

Thurs 2 June

Protecting our democracy

Yesterday, I presented the Privileges Committee's report on our deliberations on the question of protecting Members of Parliament's ability to speek freely in the House without fear or favour. The constitutional provision in New Zealand is that courts will not adjudicate on the proceedings of Parliament, just as Parliament must not obstruct or interfere with what happens in the courts or on how judges' decisions are arrived at. These are basic issues that go to the heart of being a representative, parliamentary democracy. The right to a a strong democracy is inalienable today thanks to the struggle for democracy begun by our ancestors in the 17th Century.

Citizens' inalienable rights

Protecting parliamentarians from potential bullying from dictatorial monarchs and powerful corporate lobby groups, however, is not a cloak or barrier to stop MPs from being accountable. MPs should be held to account if they unfairly abuse parliamentary privilege and hurt innocent Kiwi families. The NZ First Party, which would be an integral component of any future four-headed coalition that Don Brash hopes to cobble together, is now drawing innocent children into its attacks on skilled new settlers in NZ.

There are innocent Kiwi children worried about going to school in fear of the reaction they may get from their schoolmates because of incredible accusations about their foreign-born parents made by the NZ First Party. So where is Don Brash's leadership of the Right Wing Alliance when Kiwi families are being hurt in this way? Well, National's response is to get one of its own junior M.P.s to mimic NZ First in a strategy which is bad for law and justice and bad our economy as well.

Momentum for alcohol harm reduction Bill

We have a representative democracy which people overseas, from China to Zimbabwe, and from Tonga to Saudi Arabia, respect and admire . In a democracy, politicians listen to the public, especially on serious social issues like alcohol and the damage it is having on some young people and those who love them. Indicative of our healthy democracy, I can report that the momentum continues to grow in favour of my Sale of Liquor (Youth Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill winning a majority of Parliament's support to proceed to select committee. At select committee, parents, community representatives and frontline workers in the Health and Police departments can be heard: They can have their say on appropriate alcohol broadcast advertising law. At select committee, the public can have their say on appropriate controls to protect vulnerable young children from being supplied with liquor and can have their say on whether we should, like Canada and the States, have a higher minimum alcohol purchasing age.

Seeking just three more MPs

As of today, 58 MPs are saying they will support my Bill proceeding to select committee when Parliament votes on this issue on next Wednesday, June 8. That means I seek the support of three more MPs to get the 61 majority we need to secure the public's right to have its say. The opponents of select committee scrutiny of course includes United leader Peter Dunne and almost all in ACT and the Greens. But I find it incredible that 22 Labour and ten National MPs apparently remain opposed to this Bill proceeding.

Details of MPs voting intentions are at I'm finding it hard to accept that an associate Health Minister could be in the opposition camp along with the Police Minister - this is a public health and safety issue. I'm also finding it hard to comprehend that the MP for Waiariki may oppose the Bill and that the MPs for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, Te Tai Tonga and Tamaki Makaurau have yet to come out strongly in favour of the Bill.


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